Future Reflections Spring/ Summer1989, Vol. 8 No. 2

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Editor's Note: This information is reprinted from Kid-Bits, the newletter of the Kentucky School for the Blind.

Children love finger painting. A finger painted picture can be changed, erased, or done over with just a wipe of. a hand. Children like finger painting even more than painting with a brush because their fingers can feel. Here is an easy recipe for making finger paint at home.

Mix: 1/4 cup of liquid starch 2 tbsp. detergent powder Then add: Food coloring Editor's note: Dr. Zaborowski, who is blind herself, is a liscensedpsychologist. She is also the President of the National Federation of the Blind Human Services Division. Dr. Zaborowski, who has partial vision, does read some print with visual aids. But she also uses readers, taped materials, and Braille. Unfortunately, she was not given the opportunity to learn Braille when she was a student in school, so she had to learn it on her own. Dr. Z. believes that having several different ways to read and write makes her job easier, faster, and more pleasant.


by Dr. Betsy Zaborowski

[PICTURE] Dr. Betsy Zaborcwski is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Baltimore, MD.

I. Remember you are doing the reading. Your reader is only a tool.

II. Organize your reading. Decide what you want to read, and what is unnecessary.

III. Properly interview and test your readers. Determine why they want to read and what they imagine it will be like.

IV. Be specific when instructing the reader, telling him/her when to start and stop and what material, if any, can be omitted.

V. Get your reader to commit to a schedule. Then, stick to the schedule you set. This way you let them know how important having a regular reading time is to you.

VI. Don't continue with a reader if it's not working out. Explain that not everyone can read in the style best for you.

VII. Use whatever works to get readers. Don't expect others to get them for you. Ads in papers, announcements in church bulletins, bulletin boards, and volunteer groups are just a few sources.

VIII. When your reader is also a friend or relative, explain that reading time is different than social time. Both of you need to differentiate between fun time with friends and reading.

IX. Make sure your reader understands that the best way to help you is to follow instructions. Don't let your reader decide for you what you want or don't want to hear.

X. When having readers record material for you, be careful to give them a system for identifying the material they read and the format you would like them to follow. For instance, maybe you want them always to begin the tape with the side number followed by the title, followed by the page number. Example: "Side three, Anatomy of the Human Body. Continuing on page 178.' Also, give your reader a deadline. People work better with deadlines.

These are all important things to remember when using a reader. However, the two MOST important things to remember are: Be clear that YOU are doing the reading and that YOU are in control--not the reader. And always remember that readers respond well to praise and clear instructions.


by Michael J. McDermott

Editor's note: This article was originally published in the September-October, 1988, issue of Lifeprints. The author, Michael McDermott, is the son of the President of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts. Michael's "hero" Jamal Mazrui, is an active Federationist and a former National Federation of the Blind scholarship winner.

Jamal Mazrui was born in Kenya 23 years ago. His family was driven out of the country due to his father's political beliefs when Jamal was four years old. They moved to Michigan, where his father got a job as a professor of African History. When Jamal was 16 years old and a junior in high school, he acquired a rare disease. This disease left him blind.

Jamal did not let this obstacle stand in his way. He graduated from high school with high honors and was accepted at Princeton University. After graduating from Princeton, he began his work at the Kennedy School of Government. He completed the master's program and is now pursuing his Ph.D.

Jamal is my hero. He has been my friend for two years. He has helped me to learn the importance of a good education. Jamal has been a friend through troubled times and could be a role model for all blind students. His blindness has not kept him from attaining all his goals. His enthusiasm has helped me to reach for my goals, too. To me, a hero is someone who tries his or her best no matter what the odds are. Jamal is surely that type of person.


by Steven Pierce

Editor's Note: Steven Pierce is the oldest child of Barbara Pierce, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and Associate Editor of the Braille Monitor, the magazine of the National Federation of the Blind. Steven is now a junior political science major studying at Yale University. His mother reports that he was born a Federationist, and that was before she had ever heard of the NFB.

"Your mother sounds like an incredible woman. It almost makes you wish you were blind." I smiled weakly and tried to think of something to say. My professor had missed the point of everything I had been trying to say. He had gotten tangled up among his peculiar notions of blindness, so when I mentioned some of the things my mother had been doing, he heard a story about a courageous woman triumphing over her handicap. He couldn't understand that blindness isn't a horrible affliction, that the blind are ordinary people--just like him.

I've gotten used to people who can't understand what I tell them about blindness or about my mother. It's a problem that lots of sighted people seem to have.

When I was very young, I didn't know that there was anything special about my family. I didn't give much thought to the fact that my mother couldn't see; as far as I knew, it wasn't important. I knew that she used a cane when she walked and that she read Braille instead of print, but it didn't make any difference in my life. As far as I could tell, it didn't make any difference in hers either.

I must have been about five when I realized that my family was different. "You'd better take good care of your mother," a stranger said to my threeyearold sister. We three kids were frequently given instructions like that. None of my friends were ever told similar things about their mothers. I began to learn that my family was different from others; somehow we attracted the attention of crazy people.

I could never answer their questions very well. "How does your mother cook?" I was asked by the awe-struck. Answering that she got out ingredients and mixed them together never seemed to satisfy them. They apparently thought that there was some great secret about coping with blindness, that my mother was more than human, and that I was not telling them the truth when I said she was just an ordinary mom.

As I got older I began to understand what was going on. It wasn't that my mother or my family was somehow strange; it was just that most people have very odd ideas about what blindness means. It was important to help them get rid of their misconceptions, and that was something the whole family could help with. As children, my sisters and I could be patient with all of the stupid questions that we were asked, and we could try to answer them. My parents joined the National Federation of the Blind, which helps people all across the country with their problems and questions about blindness.

Growing up with a blind parent is a useful thing to do. It helps one to understand that blindness need not be anything more than a nuisance. This handicap does not come from infirmity. It is a civil rights issue, just like racial or sex discrimination.

The general public believes that blindness is one of the worst fates possible. Until it knows better, many blind people will not have the opportunity to live a normal life. From time to time now I come across someone like my professor who doesn't understand blindness. The only way to educate these people is to show them that their ideas are wrong. I'm glad that I can do something to help.

[PICTURE] Steven Pierce on campus at Yale University.

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